Christensen, Björn and Alexander Himme

Improving Environmental Management Accounting: How to Use Statistics to Better Determine Energy Consumption

Journal of Management Control, 28 (2): 243-227, (2017).

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/s00187-016-0239-0

Abstract: The accounting literature voices increased concerns about sustainability issues. Environmental performance as one dimension of sustainability includes among others the management and control of energy. Energy is a key production factor to which the stakeholders of a firm pay increased attention. Since energy has a significant influence on the economic costs and the environmental footprint of firms, management accounting is under growing pressure to better monitor and control energy costs. As a consequence, management accounting needs to develop energy management systems which control energy consumption and aim to reduce energy costs which in turn diminish a firm’s environmental impact and thus improve corporate reputation. One of the most important elements for energy management systems is an effective and cost-efficient measure of the energy consumption. However, firms and their management accounting departments, respectively, are still struggling to develop any cost-efficient approach for measuring energy consumption. That is why we suggest a statistical approach to easily and cost-efficiently measure energy utilization which in turn provides information input to improve environmental management accounting (e.g., cost allocations). We demonstrate our approach for a firm from an energy-intensive industry. The approach allows to distinguish more efficient from less efficient production units. We derive implications from this measurement approach for environmental management accounting and environmental management control systems.

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